Apparently we all secretly want to paint our houses lime green and fuscia


Choice of colour is – excuse me – something of a grey area.

We’ve all been told for years that we have to paint our houses in neutral colours if we ever want to sell them. But some new research seems to suggest that we’ve all been repressing the urge to splash out in the brightest colours of the paintbox.

Sherwin Williams is a dominant name in house paints in the US, and growing steadily over here (last year they bought Valspar, more of a recognised brand to you and me). They recently released a survey of
social media conversation about colours in the home which says that the majority of people really want bright, vibrant colours – reds, blues and greens – rather than neutrals.

The findings are from a Colour Psychology Study by research company Harris Poll.

Leaving aside the obvious question (are the colours happier when they’ve seen the colour psychologist?), Sherwin WIlliams have been sharing the survey along with insights from color psychologist Dr. Sally Augustin and its own color expert, Sue Wadden.

Dr. Augustin, principal at Design with Science, a cognitive science-based design consultation firm, says: “Vibrant colors can have positive psychological effects. Emerald greens can be energizing, seeing red can give us a boost of strength and yellow can provide a sense of warmth.”

Blue might be a good choice for homeowners considering more vibrant colors, with 62 percent selecting blue as one of the colors they like most. The strong preference for blue is consistent across genders, regions and age. Many also said they associate blue with calmness (45 percent).

“In the case of blue, it’s often subconsciously linked to trust, dependability, and competence and can also be associated with rest and provide a cooling sensation – making it a great choice for a bedroom or office,” says Dr. Augustin.

Some other points from the survey:

  • 58 percent say that more vibrant colors should be used throughout the home rather than just neutral tones.
  • Millennials1 welcome extra help when it comes to choosing a color for their space. More than half (52 percent) agreed that they would rather get professional help to choose paint colors than professional help when choosing clothing.
  • Generations see green differently. Millennials are more likely than older generations to most associate the color with energy (33 percent vs. 24 percent of Gen Xers2 and boomers3). Baby boomers are more likely than millennials to associate green with calmness (26 percent vs. 20 percent).
  • Forty-two percent associate yellow with happiness; men are more than twice as likely as women (35 percent to 17 percent) to associate yellow with weakness.
  • When looking at the social media posts including areas of the home, mentions of green, pink, and red index higher in the Midwest than in other regions. In the South, blue indexes higher than in other regions.
  • Fifty-eight percent are planning to paint an area in their home in the next 12 months, with nearly seven in 10 millennial men (69 percent) planning to paint within the next year. The bedroom topped the list with 44 percent who plan to paint choosing this room, followed by bathrooms (39 percent).

As ever, when you have successfully matched your personality type, horoscope, political leanings and curtains to the right shade from the Dulux catalogue, London’s Greatest Decorating Company stands ready to jump to your bidding.

Best wishes

Geoff Parvin